Showing posts from June, 2017

The Cats of Senegal

(Becca here, as Caryn and Austin do not quite agree with me on this point)

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of our time in Senegal presented itself in the form of temptation. That is, the temptation to pet every cat around. In the States, this is of course perfectly normal. People love cats. They're adorable. Who wouldn't want to pet a cat? In Senegal, the story is quite different. Cats are pests to the Senegalese, disgusting, dirty, gross little critters that no one wants to touch. I have received many an odd look from all of the cats that I have pet, be they in the street, outside of the house, at WARC, at my internship, et cetera. I have been warned by many a folk not to touch the cats, as they are dirty and not friendly. I have here photo evidence that proves otherwise.

Garbage Cat

First and foremost is Garbage Cat, so named because he eats garbage. I see him almost every single day on the way to my internship. I haven't tried to pet him, because, you know, garbage, …

Austin's Internship

Austin is working at Centre Gindi. It is a home for children, mostly boys who are victims of abuse. The home provides medical care, basic amenities such as showers and a place to sleep, and 3 square meals a day. 2 for the older children during Ramadan. It is also a safe place for these kids where no one can hurt them. I said mostly boys because most of them come from a fundamentalist school where the master beats them but because no one outside sees it, the police can't do anything. I work with the kids, play games, and work with the other college volunteers to teach them positive ways to gain control, and feel empowered. We also do conflict resolution so these kids don’t turn to violence as well. The center is a great place and even though the kids come from cruddy situations that are by no means their fault, they still have high spirits. That is all I need to Keep doing the best I can for these kids.

San Louis

This past weekend, the team went to San Louis, a beautiful city north of Dakar. We left on Friday, stopping in Thiess to visit a tapestry manufacturer. We were able to see the process that goes into making tapestries and carpets by hand, and saw some beautiful samples of works in their exhibition room. Next, we stopped at the university and talked with some students in the English department, comparing our experiences and universities. After touring the campus a bit, we went to our hotel for the night, located on the river with a beautiful view of the bridge.
On Saturday, we took a carriage ride around the island. We had a tour guide with us, stopping at interesting locations and telling us about their significance and history. We also went to an archaeology/art/hands on astronomy museum for a brief stop. It was a small building, but an interesting view into how these topics are presented in Senegal. Finally, we went to a lake outside of San Louis, near the ocean. We got to enjoy a b…

Becca's Internship

Becca is working at Noor International Academy, a school that just opened this past September. It is a bilingual Islamic school with just 25 students. She teaches a preschool class for 45 minutes a day, mostly reviewing things that the kids learned earlier in the year. Apart from teaching, she also does a lot of work on decorations for the school.

A lot of the students speak English and a few of them are from the US. For the most part, the preschoolers she teaches do not speak much English beyond what they have learned in class, though there is one American student.

The curriculum is Senegalese, as the school is trying to break away from following the French setup for education. Senegalese teaching styles are quite different from those typically seen in the US, so the main goal of Becca's internship (according to her boss) is to offer a new perspective on learning styles & approaching problems.